Boston public school students will be required to wear masks in the fall, Mayor Kim Janey said, despite statewide guidance that allows children to learn mask-free in Massachusetts.
"Many of our children are not eligible to receive a vaccine. The mask is the best protection," Boston Mayor Kim Janey said at a news conference Thursday. "Children are currently wearing masks as they are in summer school, and at different programs around the city, and this fall, they will be wearing masks still."
Massachusetts students are still required to wear masks in summer school programs, despite Gov. Charlie Baker's belief that the practice is unnecessary. Baker said Thursday that he has no plans to bring back coronavirus restrictions in Massachusetts, which includes mask mandates.
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"We're not looking at changing any of our existing rules or policies," Baker said when asked about masks. "We have a set of statewide standards and they're based on what we see on a statewide basis. And if communities believe they need to pursue strategies that are more effective and appropriate for them, they should do so."
Contradictory guidance from leading health experts, both locally and nationally, has garnered mixed reactions among parents.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said masks shouldn’t be required for anyone in schools who are fully vaccinated. Shortly after, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that everyone older than age 2 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, when schools reopen in the fall.
Baker doubled down on his decision not to change mask guidance for school in the fall, despite a call from a dozen lawmakers to revive a school mask mandate amid the spread of the delta variant.
Back from a recent trip to Colorado, Baker held two news conferences Thursday on Cape Cod, where several recent COVID outbreaks are contributing to a sudden uptick in cases across the state.
More than 250 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed as connected to a COVID outbreak in Provincetown, including at least 35 in Boston residents. The popular tourist town on the tip of Cape Cod issued a new mask advisory earlier this week in light of the increase in cases, many of them among people who had been vaccinated.
Nantucket joined Provincetown Wednesday in advising people on the island to start wearing masks indoors and when social distancing isn't possible.
Massachusetts health officials are also monitoring a COVID outbreak at Maplewood at Mayflower Place, a nursing home in West Yarmouth. As of Monday, 31 residents and employees had tested positive.
Baker spent the first half of this week in Aspen meeting with other Republican governors focused on upcoming elections. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito served as acting governor while he was away. Thursday's events were his first public appearances since returning to the state.